Once upon a time, branding simply referred to a company’s name, logo, tagline and symbol. Now that the Internet plays such a huge role in marketing, branding has evolved to encompass so much more, and thus has become a critical component to success. Nowadays, you have to think of your brand as the face, voice and soul of your business.
But because starting a business can be so daunting, many entrepreneurs tend to overlook the importance of strong branding. It’s important to remember why branding should never be an afterthought–and more important, why it doesn’t have to be so complicated.
A strong brand has the power to:
- Boost Brand Recognition: The wording, lettering and “look” of your company should be intentionally chosen to help customers easily identify your business, be it whether they drive past your store or office, recognize your product while perusing a shelf, or see one of your company trucks driving around the neighborhood.Of course, not all business is done in physical stores, but on the web as well. That’s why brand colors, voice and messaging all play an important part in reaching your target customer. When you get branding right and keep it consistent across the board (your brick-and-mortar, your packaging, your website, etc) customers will remember you.
- Boost Referrals: You have their attention, now make sure they can find you.When customers who haven’t tried your product see your branding often, they’ll begin to wonder why so many friends, family and people in their community are choosing your business. Then when they’re in the market for your product or service, they’ll know which company to search for. Be prepared and make it easy for them to find you online. It’s critical to choose a domain name that reflects your brand. If you find it difficult to match your business name with an available domain, then double check other top-level-domains where there will be more availability. Straying too far from your company name will dilute your brand. (Again, you want to keep it consistent across the board.)
- Boost Employee Morale: When you create a valuable brand, it garners credibility and loyalty among shoppers, and employees alike. They’ll be much more likely to boast about their place of employment and the type of products or services offered. Before you know it, your employees will be your strongest promotional asset. In addition to your loyal and repeat customers, think of your employees as another potential vehicle for word-of-mouth marketing.
- Boost Sales & Drive Business: Once you deliver on your promise of providing a top-quality product or service, all the points above will begin to synergize. Recognition, loyalty, word-of-mouth and employee performance will begin to work together in elevating brand awareness. Before you know it, your business will become a go-to resource in your neighborhood (and perhaps beyond).
- Takeaway tip: Keep it simple and keep it consistent. If you think you need to hire an online branding expert or strategist to reach your community, think again. One immediate and low-cost way to get started is by building a simple business website that represents the tone of your brand. Consider reserving a domain name from alternative extensions like .tel, that serve as an online business card for your brand.. Even new entrepreneurs will agree that the platform is an easy way to start and manage an online presence that not only lists your company’s name, location and contact information–but elements of your brand as well. The free hosting service gives businesses owners like you the opportunity to create a sleek digital profile page designed for fast and elegant display on all devices. Think of it as a strong branding tool right at your fingertips.